BALTIMORE (WJZ) — A plume of reddish water in Baltimore’s Inner Harbor Monday afternoon was caused by a water main break, officials said.

The city’s public works department said the six-inch main break happened in the 900 block of South Robinson Street in Canton.

Blue Water Baltimore’s Waterkeeper team also responded to the scene at the Canton Waterfront Park.

Officials said clay from the sediment is what’s causing the reddish-brown plume. It’s not acutely toxic but does contain heavy metals.

“It’s not an acutely toxic spill like heating fuel or other types of oil or something like that, but the bad news is sediment still carries heavy metals and other toxins that could negatively impact waterways,” Blue Water Baltimore Waterkeeper Alice Volpitta said.


Blue Water Baltimore alerted the Coast Guard and the Department of Public Works after discovering the discolored water.

Roughly 100 area residents were left without water for hours while crews repaired the break.

“It was really gross, really gross, and not good at all,” Baltimore resident Kate Hudson said.

The city said the water discoloration is temporary and does not pose a public health threat.

Still, neighbors like Richard Fullmer said they want it cleaned up.

“(As) soon as possible for sure, not only for us because we need our water back but also the fish and other things in the sea,” he said.

Kelsey Kushner

  1. King Julian says:

    if its not dangerous why did you even report about heavy metals in the water

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